Book Reviews

Delay of Game by Tracey Richardson at Bella Books

Genre Lesbian / Contemporary / Athletes/Coaches / Romance
Reviewed by Kym Palmer on 17-March-2017

Book Blurb

Passion and patriotism sizzle on the ice at the Winter Olympics. 

It’s been a dozen years since two of the world’s best women hockey players, Niki Hartling and Eva Caruso, first competed against each other in the Olympic Games. 

The pressure of the intense USA–Canada rivalry forced an end to their love affair, and both women moved on—Niki to coach and to marry, Eva to stretch out a playing career that her ravaged body can barely sustain anymore. 

The Games are upon them once again. Eva wants one last chance to beat the Canadians and win hockey’s biggest prize. Niki, now a widow and single mother, strives to coach her country to gold, even as the obstacles against her mount. The locker room seems to have ears and there are few people Niki and Eva can trust. 

Rivals and former lovers on hockey’s biggest stage, will Niki and Eva feel the same spark that first brought them together? And can they win on—and off—the ice with the whole world watching?

Book Review

With a story set around the very real rivalry between the Canadian and US women’s ice hockey teams, this book has a realistic edge to it to go along with the romance that is the main focus of the tale.

Niki and Eva once shone brightly, both as players and as a star couple. However, once they were both picked for their respective national teams for the Olympics twelve years ago, the pressure told and their relationship disintegrated. Now, in the lead-up to the 2010 Games in Vancouver, their paths cross again. Niki has agreed to coach Canada and Eva is still playing for the US, despite her damaged knee and relatively advanced age compared with the rest of her team.

Their lives have changed in many ways since they split up – Niki is a single mother, raising the child of her now deceased wife. Rory is eleven, mad keen on hockey, and immediately develops a hero-worship crush on Eva when they meet. Eva is alone, having had a string of one-night stands and short flings ever since she and Niki parted. She’s also incredibly egotistical and unwilling to accept that her playing career may well be over. She’s been given a chance on the team purely because of her experience, but soon sparks fly between her and the US coach, Alison, and suddenly Eva thinks all may not be as it seems. When Niki’s Assistant Coach, Lynn, is spotted having dinner with Alison, Eva goes to Niki to warn her…

There are two main threads to the story, the hockey itself, with the build-up to the Games, and the romance. Although the romance is given slightly more weight, there’s enough of the hockey story to keep sports fans truly interested. Richardson clearly knows hockey, and all the scenes around practice, training, and actual matches come across as very authentic.

I struggled a little to like Eva during the first half of the book; her ego was not particularly attractive, and she was pushy with Niki in ways that made me a little uncomfortable. To be fair, that did change a lot in the second half, and a good level of angst was brought in to explain Eva’s actions and personality that then had me cheering on the romance that sparked again between her and Niki. Niki came across as warmer and I really enjoyed Richardson’s treatment of Niki’s dilemma with her feelings for Eva versus what she used to have with her wife. I loved all the scenes with Rory, and she was a good secondary character for Richardson to use as a conduit between the two women.

The additional drama of what looks like some kind of conspiracy against either Niki, or Eva, or both, rattles along at a good pace. The “bad guys” are suitably nasty, and I liked Eva’s friend Kathleen and the, albeit small, role she played in the book.

I’ve read better things by Richardson, if I’m honest, but this is still good and an enjoyable escape into the world of professional ice hockey.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Bella Books for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 258 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 16-February-2017
Price $9.99 ebook, $16.95 paperback
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